Monday, March 14, 2016

Music Legacies: How Jazz Influenced Modern Hip-Hop

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Most people fail to realize the influence of jazz music in the development and flourishing of modern hip-hop. Today, jazz has the reputation of being "the music for the oldies;" pictures of seedy cafes and elderly people chain-smoking come to mind. This is an unfair imagery as it completely disregards why and how jazz started in the first place

During the early 1900s, the music was rigid and singular. People were not allowed to dance or listen to “inappropriate” music. However, in the state of New Orleans, a new rebellion was forming; an interesting twist of European melody and East African rhythm. This unique blending of style and music would eventually become known as jazz. As one can imagine, this was not accepted by the majority. But it served as a rallying point for disillusioned youth; a sort of energetic rebuttal to what was musically acceptable at the time.

Does this sound vaguely familiar?

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Eventually, of course, jazz became so popular that the entire nation began to embrace it as its own. Jazz was no longer the music of rebellion or youth, but of the establishment. Today’s modern hip-hop sounds with its unpoetic poetry and discordant tones reminds us of youth’s rebellion once more. It reminds society that there will always be non-conformists and that each generation finds its own voice through different melodies. Jazz was the voice of my youth, hip-hop is the sound of yours.

This is why it has become extremely important for people past the age of 60 to remind the young of the importance of jazz; how it serves as the foundation for musical rebellion. This, hopefully, would lead to a shift in how people view the genre. Christopher J. Keehner believes that New Orleans jazz has played an important part in musical growth. Learn more about his passion by following this Twitter account.